WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Westfield State University captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) women's volleyball tournament by besting rival Bridgewater State University, 3-1 (25-27, 26-24, 25-18, 25-17) in the championship game on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Westfield (20-12) captured the MASCAC regular season and postseason tournament championship for the second straight year and now advances to the NCAA Division III national tournament, scheduled to begin with regional action Nov. 12-14.
No. 1 seed Westfield also had to rally for a 3-1 (22-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-15) victory over No. 4 seed MCLA in a semifinal match played Saturday morning. In the other semifinal match, Bridgewater handled Worcester State, 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-17).
In the championship match, Bridgewater pulled out the first game, 27-25. The Bears jumped out to an early 12-6 lead.
In the key second game, the teams traded leads throughout. Westfield led 24-21 then Bridgewater scored three straight points to knot the score. The Owls scored the final two points to tie the match at 1-1.
The Owls led the third game 19-18 and rattled off six straight points, with Rachel Ryan serving, to take a 2-1 match advantage.
In the decisive fourth game, Westfield took a 9-6 lead but Bridgewater regrouped for an 11-10 advantage. Sparked by their tall frontcourt of Alex Shaw and Kelsey Leonard, the Owls scored five straight points for a 15-11 lead. A kill by Bridgewater's Shelly DePina stopped the run, but Westfield later went on a 6-1 run for a commanding 22-15 lead.
Ryan and Shaw had 12 and 10 kills, respectively, and Kerin DeGirolamo registered 40 assists and four blocks. Leonard had eight blocks and Brittany Dussault contributed three service aces. Tournament MVP Alyssa Stankowski and Julia Warner both had 16 digs.
WESTFIELD 3 - MCLA 1
Stankowski racked up 27 digs in Westfield's comeback victory over MCLA. Ryan posted a match-high 15 kills and Shaw had 14 kills. Warner contributed 12 kills, 10 digs and four block assists and DeGirolamo finished with 40 assists and nine digs.
Christina Kidd and Chelsea Halsted both registered seven kills for MCLA. Kristen Robillard tallied 13 assists and 17 digs and Amanda Lane had a team-high 22 digs. Kayla Bromback and Halsted had seven and five kills, respectively.
BRIDGEWATER 3 - WORCESTER 0
DePina's 14 kills and three blocks led the Bears to their sweep of the Lancers. Cohen had 28 assists and Clerc contributed seven kills, seven digs and a pair of aces.
Becky Lebel (seven kills), Jodi Hallett (14 assists), Michelle Maas (six digs) were Worcester's top players.